Emergency Department and Urgent Treatment Centre FAQs

Where should I go?

The emergency department entrance is on the Highgate Hill side of the hospital. There are red canopies to guide you. When you enter the building the emergency waiting room and reception desk are on your left after the sliding doors.

How long will I have to wait?

We try to see all patients within four hours of arrival in the emergency department. However, waiting times can change suddenly if a seriously ill or severely injured person is brought in. If you attend with a problem that does not require emergency treatment, you may wait longer than those who are more seriously unwell.

What will happen when I get there?

When you arrive, a nurse will assess you and decide how urgent your case is. Cases are seen in order of urgency, so other people may come in after you but be seen before you.

When should I go to the emergency department?

You should only come to the emergency department for the following reasons:

  • An injury that you believe requires stitches or an x-ray
  • Sudden chest pain
  • Breathing problems
  • Severe pain anywhere in your body
You should not attend if you have:
  • A condition that has been present for two to three days
  • A condition which is only a minor nuisance
In these circumstances it may be more appropriate to see your GP. If you are not sure whether to attend, you should call the NHS 111 service if you need medical help fast, but itís not a 999 emergency. You will be assessed, given advice and directed straightaway to the local service that can help you best. Calls to NHS 111 are free from landlines and mobile phones.

Do I need an emergency doctor?

There are many alternatives to seeing a doctor or nurse in the emergency department. Many pharmacists can now dispense medicines without the need to see a doctor or nurse; this will save you time and an unnecessary wait. There are a number of chemists open late, some are open until midnight, seven days per week. Out of GP surgery hours you can contact your GP out-of-hours service on the normal surgery telephone number. The GP service can arrange a consultation over the phone and, if necessary, a prescription can be left at your local chemist for you or a member of your family to collect.

How do I get to the emergency department?

Please use the entrance on Highgate Hill if you are dropping someone off to go to the emergency department. Otherwise, please use the pick up and drop off point at the main entrance on Magdala Avenue. There is no parking available on the hospital grounds during office hours. There is some pay and display parking available on Highgate Hill. Limited pay and display parking is available, charged at £1.50 per hour between 6pm and 8am.

How do I get home from the emergency department?

We will only arrange an ambulance if there is a medical need. We provide a freephone service to local minicab companies at the entrance to the emergency department. The minicabs are independent of the hospital and all drivers should carry identification.

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